Before coming to Switzerland I looked for information about how to get a flat and after reading other’s experiences I quickly understood that it was not going to be a “walk in the park”. Everybody I asked told me the same thing: “getting a flat in Switzerland is very difficult so just do your homework and be patient”.
Now I can tell you. It is possible and not as hard as I though. That is the reason why I can share my experience with you step by step. I hope it is useful for you!
Step 1: where to look for a flat
I think the best way is on Internet. There are many web sites that you can consult but I recommend you www.comparis.ch, a “collector” that publishes all the housing advertisements you can find in another webs. If someone publishes an advertisement on www.newhome.ch, www.homegate.ch or www.immoscout24.ch -other good websites to look in you can see it on Comparis.
On the other hand, if you have decided the area or neighborhood where you want to live you should take a look at the supermarket’s news board. In Switzerland many people use it to put their flats for renting.
Tip 1: household expenses are usually included in the monthly price. In some cases you have to add the parking place’s price.
Tip 2: living room is considered a room so if you are looking for a flat with living room, kitchen and a bedroom you have to look for 2.5 rooms. If you need two bedrooms you have to look for 3.5 rooms, for three rooms – 4.5 rooms, etcetera…
Step 2: arrange a meeting and visit the flat
Some advertisements include information about the date you can visit the flat. If other case you can arrange a meeting by phone or by the online form (although I think by phone is the best way to contact).
Step 3: do you like a flat? Then apply for it
Visit a flat and if you like it ask for the form to apply for it. You have to fill in the application (ask for help to a German friend or someone that speaks German) and then send it to the real estate company by post mail (yes, Swiss like to receive papers that they can touch!)
Along with the form you have to send other documents in order to show you as the perfect tenant:
– A copy of your resident permit – If you have not received it yet it is almost impossible that the real estate company consider your application. We had to wait for 3 weeks until we received it but when we started to include it along with the application we got a flat in just 3 weeks!
– Three last salary slip – We didn’t have it so we provide a document with information about our monthly income – the company where you are working can write it for you
– Certificate that you have not debts in the Country (Betreibungsauskunft) – You have to ask for this certificate at the “Kreisbüro” when you register at and it costs 17 CHF.
– A letter of the Human Resource Department or your boss stating your position name and your beginning date with the company.
– A motivational letter. There are people that even include a photo of themselves but it seemed too much to us.
– Any kind of references you can provide for. Swiss loves references! We included a letter from the last landlord we had in Spain (and they called her… in Spain!)
Step 4: waiting for the miracle
OK, I know that this is what you are thinking, but trust me; your phone will ring soon! And if you have any question just ask me for help 🙂